Zionism has always displayed a complicated relationship with the Temple Mount. While secular socialist Zionism wanted little to do with the site for pragmatic reasons, right-wing and guerilla Zionist groups considered it, before the founding of the state, as the embodiment of Jewish sovereignty over the Holy Land. And although Religious Zionism, until very recently, shied away from the site, over the past decade tremendous changes in this public’s attitude have taken place, leading to intense interest and activity concerning it. This article surveys past and present attitudes toward the Temple Mount, studying its recent rise as a focal point for ethnonational yearnings, and analyzing these developments vis-à-vis the secularization process.
tomer perisco is a research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and teaches at the Department for Comparative Religion at Tel Aviv University. His fields of study are contemporary spirituality, Jewish renewal, forms and trends of secularization, and religiosity in Israel. His book, The Jewish Meditative Tradition, was recently published in Hebrew by Tel Aviv University Press.